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Sultan Qabus Bin-Said is the first Arab leader who sails on an official visit to Iran through its Bandar Abbas Port that is close to the Sultanate of Oman at the same time as Ahmadinejad is being crowned president. Tehran’s grave crisis did not prevent him from traveling. Most Arab governments are also expected to send cables congratulating Ahmadinejad for the presidential chair though it is shaking from the growing exclamations of God is Great, the protests, and the public challenge by revolution leaders and ordinary people.

The official Arab regimes are of course not expected to boycott the appointed president even if Ahmadinejad tries to exploit the congratulations in his domestic propaganda to convince his citizens of his regime’s legitimacy. These are official protocols and those are internal events and all countries in the region are keen not to take an official stand that deviates from the rules of protocols. They are not forced to send flowers to the president but cannot refrain from sending a congratulatory cable, though the general Arab feelings are praying that the Iranian authorities will be preoccupied with their own fires and therefore desist from igniting more fire sin the region.

Anyone who watched Iranian-Arab relations at the peak of the street demonstrations and the official establishment’s confusion notes that communications between the Iranian and Arab regimes did not stop. The latter congratulated Ahmadinejad when his victory was first announced and then expressed their condolences to him for the death of the plane that crashed later on. Their relations are expected to continue, as normal, through their ambassadors, meetings, and scheduled visits, as the sultan of Oman is doing.

The Iranian Government will go back to its normal business once the presidential celebration is over. But these are absolutely not normal businesses as it faces the internal rebellion and pressures from abroad. Though the majority of governments in the world claim to be indifferent and send cables of congratulations, they are scrutinizing the details of the minor events there and trying to conclude what the near future will bring after one or two years. Iran is an important country at the international level militarily and in terms of oil and nuclear power. Oil prices would jump to higher level if events developed negatively and would disturb the world’s economies again and the crisis would put all political and even military plans with Iran in the fridge to wait for the result. And who knows what the result will be and in what condition the region will be then. If Ahmadinejad succeeds in completing his first month in control of the internal situations then he might deserve the congratulations from the friends and enemies though one honeymoon month does not mean the other months are going to have the same taste.

We realize that the opposition’s popularity in Iran is real and its objections have reverberations. The opposition represents all the people’s sectors but is a velvety movement; a street revolution that does not have the ability to change the face of a regime that is publicly threatening it will use its 7 million armed men to suppress it.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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